Didn't notice this thread previously...
Just can't see it "plot-wise".
The detectives may save actions for later use. Now, something is "alive". It's gonna die when using it. Hmm..
I had the same kind of lack of feeling for the action chips. After some thought, when I taught the game to my girlfriend I called them "leads", as in "open lines of investigation". The detective can spend an action chasing some leads on the investigation (making the lead 'live') and then later he can follow up on a previously-neglected lead to get further in the investigation (perform an action on his turn) which 'kills' the lead (closes that avenue of investigation, it's all investigated out).